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Fr. Gregory Elmer, O.S.B.

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THE YEAR of GRACE, 2005

Dear Friend,

A long year, a short note. In January I had successful surgery for a large and aggressive prostate cancer. The doctor gave me morphine for the post-operative pain, and I had a rare but not unknown reaction, and I was in hospital from February through June, before I could recover. In June, I moved from hospital to Villa Scalabrini, a Catholic Retirement Assisted Living Facility to convalesce. In September, I developed a very serious blood clot and was back to hospital. Then back to the Villa. In October I developed a full blown case of Parkinson’s, which will be my daily companion the rest of my life here below, and was back in hospital. God willing, I plan to remain at the Villa for the time it will take to dissolve the clot, and to arrive at the proper Parkinson’s dose. Then, God willing, at the end of February, I plan to move home to the monastery.

All this must be a grace, even the Parkinson’s which is quite a tutor of humility, because, on a daily basis, as I have never been freer and happier than I find myself now. I am writing three books, am exercising, and, the Parkinson’s notwithstanding, I have returned to playing classical piano, and, interpretively, I have never played better. Poems of inspiration, art and craft have been blessing me since June.

God is ever giving good gifts, though I must say that He has appalling taste in wrapping paper!! He is giving me joy, peace, happiness, and even mirth. As there is no merely human way such difficult illnesses could lead to such measure and variety of gladness and gratitude, I take it as a grace and compassionate favor of Jesus that such felicity now walks with me through every day. And since grace, by definition, cannot be deserved, I hold all my friends, by their prayer and love, accountable. Much wheat has been sown among my weeds – some dear friends have done this. My thanks!

Under the Mercy,

Dom Gregory Elmer O.S.B.